Kamilah Exclusive Q & A with Locoshop Founder Dan Facciolo

November 8, 2022

Senior Writer: Kamilah Foster

1- How did you come up with the idea to design Locoshop the search engine?

The idea for Locoshop stemmed years ago, pre-pandemic, from my personal frustration of not being able to easily find local retailers for products I was looking for online. There are some products I preferred to see or try before committing to a purchase and my biggest problem was finding a local retailer on Google. Every time I Googled a specific product, the search results were filled with sponsored ads and had to work too hard and had to dig too deep to find a handful of relevant local retailers – this knowing that there were probably dozens in my city and hundreds across the country. I knew there had to be a better way to find ‘who sells what’. Today, despite Google adding more tools to ‘help’ brick-and-mortar retailers rank locally, the same problem persists. In 2020, I decided to go ‘all-in’ with bringing Locoshop to market with the support of my business partners and my loving spouse.

2- What kinds of products can consumers search for?

On Locoshop, consumers can search for virtually any product you can find on Amazon including but not limited to clothing and apparel, fashion accessories, footwear, childrenswear, consumer electronics, sporting goods, toys, books, home décor, food and beverage, pet supplies, and more. At the moment, users can search for products by keyword, by store or by brand. We list all matching search results in order of distance to the user’s location and let the shopper choose where to buy.

3- In your opinion, has the pandemic changed the retail industry?

Definitely, but not quite for the better just yet. While the pandemic encouraged millions of brick-and-mortar retailers worldwide to embrace e-commerce as a means for visibility to their own customers during lockdowns, the sad truth is, most stores remain invisible to outside consumers on the world’s largest search engine (i.e. Google). With over 30 million e-commerce websites currently active worldwide and vying for page 1 visibility, it is nearly impossible for stores to gain significant organic visibility without spending a small monthly fortune on ads or SEO. Locoshop strongly believes this practice is unsustainable for 99% of retailer and aims to even the playing field by offering them a fair an affordable marketplace free of ads and ranking schemes and consumers an easy and more transparent way to locate products in stores nearby.

4- What is the popular trend to shop these days, is it in stores or online?

The answer is both. While we all know that online shopping isn’t going away anytime soon, post-pandemic, statistics are showing a resurgence in in-store shopping. Consumers are now seeking experiences and given the proper tools to help them discover new stores and products, we believe most consumers would resort to buying online or in-store from a local merchant rather than Amazon or big box marketplaces. Smaller independent retailer often offer the same products (and even some exclusives), at the same price and the same delivery options – the only missing element is a marketplace to help shoppers find them. This is where Locoshop comes in.

5- Why was this your mission to help the brick-and-mortar stores that were having a harder time competing online?

Having worked in retail stores at a young age, and as a marketer of products sold by specialist retailers throughout my career, I’ve always appreciated the service and authenticity typically provided by brick-and-mortar retailers – especially independently owned stores. These experiences are almost impossible to replicate, even on the best online platforms. Since over 70% of product searches now begin on Amazon or Google, we wanted to offer brick-and-mortar stores a marketplace where they can get undivided visibility from local-conscious shoppers free of ads and reviews. We also believe that brick-and-mortar retailers play a big contributing role in the vibrancy of our respective communities. If they start disappearing, we would effectively be living in ghost towns.

6- What is Locoshops Global Reach now since starting the business?

To date, we list products from over 4000 stores across Canada and already attract thousands of visitors per month from online shoppers all over the world. We are planning to launch in the US in 2023 and follow up with European Europe and Australia launches thereafter. Our goal is to list over 1 million stores worldwide by 2025.

7- What is the current goal to advance the company?

We’ve launched 2 months ago and so far, the response has been great from both vendors and consumers. They understand the value in what we’re building and are rooting for us to grow and perfect our platform. We are currently raising capital to fund our platform upgrades including advanced store indexing and update capabilities, offer users advanced search capabilities as well as invest in consumer and trade awareness campaigns. Our goal is to create the world’s greatest local shopping marketplace.

8- How does Locoshop choose its products?

Every month Locoshop automatically adds hundreds of new stores carrying virtually all product categories to its platform. The main criteria we look for is stores who operate e-commerce and also a physical storefront. The more local stores we add, the wider our product selection gets, the more shoppers we attract.

9- How has Shop Talk Meetings helped you to improve your services?

As a marketplace start-up, Shop Talk was a tremendous opportunity for us to expose our platform to multiple stakeholders in the retail trade. Our experience did not disappoint. We were able to connect with multiple brands, media outlets and investors eager to learn about Locoshop. Thanks to the one-on-one format, we were able to forge valuable connections (including Hear Our City Media) which we plan to nurture way beyond this event. We definitely plan to attend future events.

10- What has been the feedback from the consumers in using your search engine to find and buy products?

Since our Canadian launch a few months ago, the consumer feedback has been mostly positive. While many are surprised to discover stores they never knew existed on our platform, some have expressed disappointment in the lack of nearby stores for certain items. Thankfully, our supporters appreciate the complexity of what we’re trying to accomplish and give us the opportunity to experiment as we grow. We’re very grateful for that.

To search for local products and stores or to join as a retailer, visit www.locoshop.io